County superintendents and officials have been pondering over rumors about the fate of the County Development Fund (CDF) allotment following the submission of Liberia’s first draft medium-term budget to the National Legislature.
The rumors came in the wake of suggestions to cut down budget for some government’s spending areas at various functionaries.
But the Ministry of Internal Affairs has dispelled the rumors, clarifying that the CDF remains the same, as proposed in the draft budget.
Deputy Internal Minister, Varney Sirleaf, made the clarification in an interview with the In Profile Daily Wednesday. “The Ministry has not received any communication from the National Legislature or the Executive informing about reduction in the CDF,” Minister Sirleaf noted.
He said the government is still effective, while the medium-term framework budget which commences July this year is the fiscal budget that goes to developments for the next three years.
He further clarified that CDF is different from the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ budget, indicating that the CDF is intended for decentralization of national development and managed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Since the introduction of the County Development Funds by the Ellen-led government in 2007, it has been coordinated between the lawmakers and superintendents, with the citizens in most, if not all counties, persistently cry against exclusion.
However, the draft budget, according to crafters, aims at taking a different dimension by establishing a central body that will work with county authorities in the expenditure of CDF.
Minister Sirleaf said the central body from the Internal Affairs Ministry will monitor the expenditure of County Development Funds and Social Development Funds, and will also provide education on budget laws.
He noted that body will also participate in county council meetings, which he said will be held in every county for the purpose of identifying development projects.
The Deputy Internal Affairs Minister also commented on recent statement by the Ministry of Justice, ordering the arrests of Grand Gedeh County former Superintendent Chris Bailey and others for their alleged involvement in corruption.
Minister Sirleaf stressed that any superintendents or assistants, who will be indicted by either the Justice Ministry or the General Auditing Commission will have to go to court to exonerate themselves.
Solicitor General Wilkins Wright recently ordered the arrests of Bailey and Grand Gedeh Development Superintendent, and named Margibi County former Superintendent Levi Piah and others to appear before the Justice Ministry for questioning.
Minister Sirleaf noted that the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not support any corrupt act therefore; they will support and cooperate with the Ministry of Justice in prosecuting any county officials found in dishonesty.